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Friday, February 06, 2009

Intelligent design and high culture: Ben Stein bounced from commencement ceremony!

Ben Stein was disinvited as University of Vermont commencement speaker, due to intelligent design sympathies.

What's hilarious is that the Howard Dean, widely known outside Vermont as the Deaniac, former US presidential contender (Democrat), has been nominated instead.

John West at the ID think tank Discovery Institute, offers some thoughts:

"In today's academic double-speak, invitations to far-left revolutionaries and race-baiting Congressmen are apparently 'inclusive,' while inviting a speaker who favors free speech on the issue of evolution is beyond the pale," says Discovery Institute's John West.

Apologizing for inviting gifted actor and writer Ben Stein to be commencement speaker at the University of Vermont, University President Daniel Fogel has highlighted what he called Stein's "highly controversial views" about "evolutionary theory, intelligent design, and the role of science in the Holocaust." Fogel went on to express penance for inviting Stein by claiming that Commencement should be a time when our community gathers inclusively, not divisively.

I guess inclusivity is why in 2007 Fogel chose as commencement speaker Democratic congressman John Lewis, who in 1995 compared Republicans to Nazis (last year Lewis compared John McCain and Sarah Palin to segregationist, George Wallace and racist church bombers). Or perhaps President Fogel's concern for inclusivity is better demonstrated by his 2006 commencement speaker, Gustavo Esteva, a far-left activist and advisor to the radical Zapatista National Liberation Army in Mexico.

Of course, it's being reported that Stein withdrew as the university's commencement speaker voluntarily. Voluntarily, that is, after he received a phone call from Dr. Fogel likely making clear he was no longer welcome.
Well, two thoughts here:

1) If Stein is a classy guy (I assume so for present purposes), he obviously withdrew when he saw he wasn't welcome. However, that is how one disinvites classy people. So he was disinvited.

2) The episode merely shows a trend evident at universities for some time: Violent crackpots are welcome, but people who think that the universe shows evidence of design would not be.

President Fogel isn't probably not a hypocrite; he really believes what he says. Despite the thoughts of great scientists, he believes the many mediocre science celebs and airhead science writers who say that the universe shows no evidence of design.

Oh yes, and violence and destruction are forms of salvation.

The problem is this: People who attend such institutions may not learn skills that lead to a lifetime of learning, or health, wealth, or sanity; rather a culture of grievance and entitlement, and a demand for income and for suppression of anything that challenges them. Which is precisely what we see today. It's not even their fault, I have come to realize. They simply do not know any other way of living.

Yes, yes, we have similar problems in Canada, but at least we are fighting back. I wish the Yanks would start. In the twentieth century, they were late for TWO World Wars in a row!

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